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  • Writer's pictureLorenzo De Conti

"Marògne": the cornerstones of Valpolicella, our heritage

Le marogne della Valpolicella

As soon as entering the beautiful Fumane Valley, you will be enchanted by the many dry-stone walls supporting the rows of vines: these are the "marògne", as they are called by the inhabitants of Valpolicella. They are still today the living testimony of man's ability to manage the impervious nature.

Our family comes from a small village a little higher up than Marano, towards Monte Castelòn. It is called Pezza, and our ancestral relationship with the history of Valpolicella is born from that deep bond between stone and vineyard.

12 km of stone

When we acquired Villa San Michele, home to Ugolini, the adjoining vineyards and those slightly sloping towards the hillside were supported by abandoned low walls. The "marògne", built dry centuries earlier, had collapsed on the terraces in many spots; wounds opened by time and weather. Their recovery was, from the very beginning, our primary desire.

Who, however, still had the skill to rebuild those agrarian monuments, world heritage site, according to the techniques of ancient peoples now close to oblivion? We wanted to restore history by placing each stone back in its place, without allowing modernity to change its appearance. We had to recreate the 12 km of "marògne" that surrounded the Villa and stretched over the San Michele and San Michele della Chiesa vineyards and further up to Valle Alta.

The last strokes of the chisel

If marl and clay are the skeleton of our Valpolicella, the marògne are its nerve joints: they support it, make it flexible, weatherproof and shape its territory. In order to breathe new life into the entire network of marògne on our properties, I decided to set up a cooperative for the purpose of rebuilding them according to the ancestral methods of the Prun stone masons.

Thanks to these last stone craftsmen, today we have recovered a large area of land by giving it back its soul. So when you look at those well-ordered rows of stones, remember the many last strokes of the chisel of our Valpolicella grandparents.



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